Remembering Measles

When I was 3 years old, I had almost every childhood disease that existed. I had Mumps, Strep infection, followed by Scarlet Fever, and the Measles, Rubeola is the medical term. I remember lying in bed with the curtains pulled and lights off because my eyes were so watery, having to stay in bed, having a feverand a blotchy rash and even having to eat my meals in bed. I got so tired of having to stay in bed. It took about a week to get over. This happened to me in the decade before the measles vaccination program began. At that time, an estimated 3–4 million people in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disabilities from measles encephalitis. Then, in 1963 the Measles vaccine was introduced and as people started getting the vaccine the numbers of measles cases dropped so much, that people don’t remember how bad it was to have the disease. As more people are vaccinated, we protect those in our midst who are too young to take the vaccine as well because they aren’t exposed to the disease. Recently, in TN, we have had a small outbreak of the Measles. 18 states have had outbreaks this year. Some of these cases have been from traveling to countries that don’t have measles immunization programs on par with the United States. Some parents have been afraid to vaccinate their children due to fears of autism and a link with the MMR vaccine. Much research has been done and has proven that there is not a link between the vaccine and autism. Being properly vaccinated is critical in preventing measles. As it gets time to get ready for the school immunization season, discuss the importance of vaccines with your health care provider and make the decision that is best for you and your family. For more information go to

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